You may wonder what your physical surroundings have to do with your depression. I wasn’t aware of the connection either until I began some research years ago. When I began sharing this information with others in bible studies, participant’s ears really perked up. Many of them had never made the connection. I have found time and again that this concept resonates with people who are depression prone. That’s because it really makes a lot of sense.
Excessive clutter can be a symptom of depression, act as a trigger, or both. Depressed people are often overcome with a cacophony of noise in their head. Thoughts seem to bombard them from every direction. Add visual clutter to the mix and it has all the ingredients of a time bomb. This is one of the areas I have learned to monitor. I can only let it go so far and it often depends how frantic or at odds I am feeling.
I’m always pursuing some creative venue and like the stereotypical artist, I can be messy. It’s just how I work and I’m o.k. with that. But it doesn’t take much for me to leap from messiness to out-of-control clutter. If I look around my house and feel anxious, I know it’s time to straighten up. I stop what I’m doing and just take few minutes to tidy up. The author of “Stuff” psychologist Randy Frost, says that “with depression, you often see people who have clutter problems because they don’t have the energy to get rid of stuff.”
I can always evaluate my mood by how cluttered things are around me. It’s a trigger that can cause me anxiety. If I don’t catch it soon enough it becomes a symptom that something is amiss. Interestingly enough, the cleaning up process employs two other tools I learned to adopt, distraction and physical movement. It’s like a BOGO (Buy one; get one free) sale, but in this case it’s BOGT, (Buy one; get two free.)
Cluttered surroundings often indicate a cluttered mind. If you don’t believe me, see if you don’t function better and find it easier to control your depression when you declutter your surroundings. We are the product of not only a creative God but an orderly God. Maintaining a sense of order in our lives is as spiritual as anything else because it reflects one of God’s attributes. If we wake up in the morning and see chaos, it’s chaos we get for the rest of the day. We start off behind before our feet ever hit the floor. Then we feel overwhelmed. There’s enough chaos in life we can’t avoid, so why make it worse for ourselves?
A sloppy environment, whether at work or at home, can even reflect a sloppy faith. We are creatures of habit and how we function in one area very often spills over into another. Developing discipline here will help you develop discipline in all other areas as well. I am not talking about short periods in our lives when things are messy for a reason. When we’re in the middle of a remodeling project, we should expect a certain amount of clutter but even then we can try to keep the clutter confined to one room. It has been often said by many that we are “total” beings. Nothing that happens in one part of our lives can be separated from other parts of our lives. Everything affects everything else.
More tomorrow. Till then, God bless and have a good day.